Book Review – “Believe” (Author: Sally Pearson)

From Goodreads:

Olympic champion Sally Pearson has shown her remarkable career that competitiveness and passion have hardwired into her very being. Not since Cathy Freeman in the Sydney Olympics have Australians been so excited by the international success of a sportswoman.
Sally triumphs on the athletics field- a gruelling test of concentration, technique, speed, and endurance- are a tribute to her indomitable will. Believe is the inspiring story of her journey to the top of her field and her path to recognition by her peers as the best in the world.

As a fan of athletics, I had been tracking this e-book as a potential stocking filler as part of my Christmas Haul.

“Believe” follows Sally Pearson’s career from the junior ranks to the end of the 2013 athletics season and I found it to be refreshingly different to other books of this type.  This is partly down to the fact that, in a lot of respects, it isn’t an autobiography, but more of a journal of Sally’s career, mainly because she is still an active athlete rather than somebody who has retired from their chosen sporting profession.  Granted, there is the element of the author providing a framework to her career – how she started in athletics along with the people who inspired her, most notably Olympic Gold Medal winner Cathy Freeman, and how she progressed from a junior to senior athlete and, ultimately, to somebody who has achieved success in various major competitions including a Gold Medal at London 2012, but Sally tells her story in a very matter of fact attitude.

It is this matter of fact way of writing that is refreshing as she concentrates on her career, along with the people who have helped her, both professionally and personally, rather than proceeding along the “tabloid route” of laying her whole life bare for people to read or looking to settle scores in a negative fashion with on-track adversaries.  That’s not to say that there aren’t instances where she doesn’t talk about flare-ups with people, most frequently with her coach, but she delivers these insights in an honest fashion, whilst not sensationalising incidents and having the guts to state the background to them – most notably her competitive nature, the nature of an athlete gaining injuries throughout their career and a perfectionist attitude to her sporting discipline.

Another way that this book differs is in that unlike athletes whose experiences have dulled over the passage of time, Ms Pearson has the benefit of being able to deliver an insight into her races with a clarity which almost has you running alongside her.  She speaks of the routines she undertakes prior to starting the races, the motivational techniques that she uses to inspire – repeating them like an athlete would in the fashion of a mantra, and the execution of an actual race, including the experiences of being chased down or beating her rivals.

“Believe” is also a real page turner.  Normally, books of this type take normally a week or so for me to read as I need to try to absorb the information, along with the fact that inevitably there are slow parts to a sporting journal.  This book is a pacey read with little, if any, slow parts to it, which allowed me to complete it within five days.  (Not bad for me considering I was working this week).

Understandably, “Believe” will have a core audience – either general sports fans or athletics fans like myself, and it won’t be to the general reader’s taste and fancy, but if you are looking to take a punt on a book that delivers an honest account, brutally so when it comes to some areas of self criticism and her competitive nature, and is an inspirational story of how an athlete put in the work to succeed in her chosen field, then please give this book a try.

Rating: 5/5


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s